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Insurance in 
New Zealand

 The Kiwis are so insured that there are some people who pay insurance to pay for insurance in the case they lose their jobs. The reason is that to build equity in New Zealand is hard, and any unplanned expenses will make it hard for the Kiwi to gather the money to be able to pay for insurance. With 80% of the population earning just enough to make a living, there is no way of having a little financial peace of mind without a good insurance.  At least insurance prices are not as expensive as its neighbour Australia, and most are able to have it. If you are going to live, travel, or to study in New Zealand, its important to know the insurances available. The major insurance types are described below…

New Zealand established in 1974 what is called the Accident Compensation Committee or ACC, which the primary objective was to take out some of the load of the juridical system. The New Zealander had now the right in the case of an accident, to all medical costs including operations all for free. It also gives them the right to receive money for the loss wages as a result of the accident until the person can go back to work. In exchange the citizens agreed to not to prosecute others in search of damages. Tourists and international students also have the right to free treatment at any public hospital as a result of an accident only. However they are responsible for post treatment cost such as physiotherapy and medicines. Emergencies for feeling unwell are also not free. And for that reason health insurance is not only recommended but compulsory for those people who are coming to New Zealand to study. The government requires all international students to have health and travel insurance for the entire period of their stay, and in general the respective Schools are able to help with obtaining it.

Car insurance will set you back around NZ$ 380 per year (average car). There are 2 major types. The first one is Comprehensive which completely covers your car, as well as the property of others. It includes theft, fire, if you crash into someone’s car etc. With the comprehensive, depending on the age of the vehicle, you can make an agreement with the insurer or Agreed Value for the value of the car in case the car is a total loss. If an agreed value has not been established then insurer will only pay out the market value, with taking in consideration the mileage, accessories, and condition of you vehicle. The other type of insurance, which is better for those who have older cars that are not worth too much, is to take out a Third Party Insurance. This type does not cover your vehicle, it only cover for damage you cause to other property. For example if you crash into a BMW and you are at fault then you are covered for the costs of the damage to the BMW, or if you take a corner too fast and knock down a 20 thousand dollar power post, then your insurer pays for the costs of the post but not your car.  When you do crash your car, nothing stops you from selling what left of it to the wreckers, to get some money for your next car.

Insurance for Rented Cars there is a trick. The type of insurance is comprehensive and normally is included in the price of the rental (but its better to check). You will also need to be aware of something called Excess, which basically means that the car is covered but if the damages are only up to lets say NZD$1000 then you are liable. So for example if you scratch the paint work of the car, and the damage is only NZD$500 then you are going to have to pay. The cost of the access is determined  the model, make and year of the car. For an extra 10 or 20 dollars more per day you can cover yourself from this excess. They will give you this option upon rental. I have always paid for the extra $ to have no excess costs  and never had anything happen. But in May 2005 I am glad that I had paid extra to have the excess covered. I was driving my rented car along the road, when a truck carrying a wooden house coming from the opposite direction, had one of the windows come loose and fall onto the asphalt. The broken glass and broken wood covered my car like a wave, The wood from the broken window scratched the white paint in various places, but I didn’t have to pay a cent for the damage. It was worth paying to be covered for the excess, because in this case it would have cost me around $800, compared to the $70 extra I paid to be covered. 

The Kiwi is made to have house insurance while they are paying a mortgage, and lately many are taking up private health insurance. It seems like the government is not giving out enough funds to the hospitals, and the waiting list for treatments are getting longer. Life insurance is another popular insurance, especially for people with families. In any case there are hundreds of different types of insurances to make anyone in any type of situation to have that peace of mind. All you have to do is to research which ones best fulfil your needs.

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